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Seafood and BBQ near Oak Island, NC?

My SO and I will be down in Oak Island, NC for a week the begining of April. Looking for some good places for seafood and some real BBQ. Have been there before and when searching earlier chow posts saw a lot of recs on the Provision Co. in Southport, which I really didnt enjoy that much when we were there (thought it was too expensive for what we got). So if people can recommend any places in that area we would really appreciate it. We have a week and are willing to drive a bit if necessary. Would love to try some real NC BBQ. We love to eat pretty much anything so any suggestions would be welcome.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. I've never been all that psyched about any of the seafood restaurants in the Oak Island area (the one really junky down-home joint I liked, Sandy's, down under the bridge on the mainland side, has closed), but I will put in a *strong* recommendation for Haag & Sons fish market . . . the folks there are friendly, quick to offer a suggestion or an explanation, and the fish & scallops we've bought there have always been super-fresh. Assuming you're renting a house or something else with a kitchen, buy fresh & cook your own; you won't be sorry.

    There's now a BBQ joint on the island, which seems wrong to me (isn't it in violation of some kind of NC BBQ code to prepare & serve pig on an island?), but as far as it goes, it's not bad. It's not in the same league as the truly great NC BBQ, but the same could be said of most all BBQ restaurants that close to the ocean. It's certainly on the same level as most other coastal BBQ I've had.

    Honestly, the best/most remarkable meal I had in a restaurant on Oak Island last year was the insane (and insanely good) burger I had at Little Bit's. I mistakenly ordered the large, and wound up with a hand-formed patty that overhung the edge of the bun by about two inches on all sides. Smothered in onions. It was delicious, and I have no intention of ever ordering another one ;-) -- but I will go back & get a smaller burger ASAP next time I'm on the island.

    Expanding out towards Southport, I'm still a big proponent of Thai Pepper's. There's something about the air at the coast which prevents me from assessing the quality of Thai Pepper's on some kind of absolute Thai-food scale, but I *will* say that it's at least as good as your run-of-the-mill hometown Thai restaurant, the kind you willingly go to once or twice a month, and to find it in a small town in coastal NC is still somewhat miraculous.

    There's now a Thai restaurant on Oak Island itself, but it never seemed to be open, no matter the time of day that we drove by. To expect it to be any good would be asking too much anyway, I think.

    Oak Island is my favorite NC beach, so no matter what, have a great time, and report back on any chow finds you make.

    1 Reply
    1. re: rossgrady

      My family and I mourn the loss of Sandys! They had the best chowder, and the best atmosphere on Oak Island.

      Has anyone else tried the Live Oak Cafe? We did, last year, and found it good. Hope the business has survived it's first year.

      Looking forward to visiting in early May. Hope someone reports back about the best places to eat.

    2. I personally love Provisions - but another great place to get seafood is The Fish House. It's near the Blue Water Marina, towards end of the island. I'm not a big fan of NC bbq so don't have recommendations there. I also love Thai by the Sea - which is on Oak Island on the main drag, Famous Pizza and Subs - on the way to Southport - has really amazing pizza. There's just something about their crust and cheese combo, good greek salads and wings too. The Mexican place near Lowe's grocery store isn't bad either.

      1. For barbecue try The Barbecue House on OI. Fairly good if fresh off the pit and the best in the area. Turtle Island has been the source of several really good seafood meals for us. Can get loud when they have live music. There's a little spot next door to Turtle Island that has great fried flounder. May be a lunch only place, though. Little Bit's has great burgers. Best seafood on the island is at my pals Tony and Lynn's house supplied by Haag & Sons. All fish is cut to order.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Hushpuppy

          I also tried Turtle Island earlier this summer and was pleasantly surprised. The prices were slightly higher than we expected, but the portions were large (several of us made ample meals out of a salad and appetizer) and the food was very well-prepared and fresh. Nothing unusual or avante garde, but every dish seemed to be prepared with care and attention to detail - which surprised me, to be honest, in a casual beach restaurant. Delicious crab dip. The waitstaff also didn't blink at our party of 11 (with separate checks), for which I am always grateful, and it was one of few places we could find open on Sunday night.

          I agree about Provisions. The atmosphere is fun, everyone should try it once - but the menu is short, the portions small, the preparation assembly-line, and the prices high.

        2. I highly recommend the "boil" pot at The Fish House. You also might want to make a reservation when we went there in October we had to wait about 45 minutes.

          1. Havn't tried the new BBQ restaurant yet, but Thai by the Sea on OI is really good. The previous poster may not have known that there are two buildings... the little one is open at lunch & in the winter, and the big one is open at night during tourist season. You will not be sorry if you order the summer rolls. All the other people's recommendations I can vouch for -- they are right on. If you are on OI and don't want to schlep over to Southport there is a new "yacht provision" at the Yaupon Pier... it is called Latitudes. Same concept, ocean view instead of river.... also I thought Fishy Fishy in Southport was pretty good considering where it is. Also on OI if you want to take a step back in time to seafood in the old Carolina style, go to Jones' or to Captain Stanleys.

            1. Although there have been no recent posts about Oak Island, North Carolina, we just returned from our first visit to Oak Island and there were two food highlights I would like to mention. Before we left home for this trip I checked Chowhound and was disappointed that the most recent posts about Oak Island were from way back in 2007! I vowed to update this topic and here I go...

              1. Haag & Sons Seafood (mentioned in a previous post).
              We cooked our own dinner three nights out of our week-long visit and dealing with Haag & Sons was an absolute delight. The Triggerfish fillets were our favourite meal. We had never eaten Triggerfish before. It has white flesh, firm, slightly sweet. Pan fried in butter and served with lemon wedges. Scrumptious!
              2. The Fish House Restaurant at the Blue Water Point Marina.
              We had an excellent dinner there. The garden salad was very fresh and tasty with many ingredients and delicious dressings. I had the Shrimp and Grits appetizer along with the salad and I was too full to eat anything else after that. My partner had the special of the day for his entree and it was lump crabmeat served with new potatoes and perfectly steamed veggies - nice bright colours). I have never seen such a generous serving of lump crabmeat. The service was prompt and friendly and and If you would like to see photos, look me up on Flickr. Search for suesinc. Oh, beautiful sunset as well!

              1 Reply
              1. re: salivate

                Ok, I'll join in. I agree with both of your points - Haag & Sons is the place to buy your fish. And the Fish House is by far the best for seafood on the island. I'd avoid any of the seafood places along the main drag and head here.

                Shagger Jacks has some really good food that is different than a lot of what you'll find on the island. Also a nice place just to grab a beer.

                Turtle Island and Island Way are both good if more expensive. Island Way has the benefit of an ocean view.

                Thai by the Sea is decent and they will make it spicy if you ask.

                I've had two good meals at Fishy Fishy in Southport, so I'd recommend them if you're not into the Provision Co.

                Thai by the Sea
                8311 E Oak Island Dr, Oak Island, NC 28465

                Island Way
                1407 E Beach Dr, Oak Island, NC 28465

                Fishy Fishy Cafe
                106 Yacht Basin Dr, Southport, NC 28461

                Shagger Jacks
                8004 E Oak Island Dr, Oak Island, NC 28465

              2. Clem's is a great spot to pick up some blue crabs. Soft shells will be coming in soon.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Hushpuppy

                  the soft shells are in at Clem's! Also Haag & Sons is the best place to get local seafood. There have been some restrictions on fishing in the area but many are lifted starting May 1 so a lot more options should be available. The local tuna and snowy grouper have been wonderful.
                  As far as restaurants I am so delighted that Fishy Fishy has turned their act around. The past four visits have been much better than anticipated. They are featuring local seafood when possible, service has improved by leap and bounds, the atmosphere is awesome - lots of outside seats by the marina and gallons of new paint. Very much worth a visit. Recently a pilot for an ABC (?) show was filmed there too. - Revengers?
                  A new sandwich/deli place across from Hot Peppers on Moore? street is also serving up decent sandwiches - Boar's head meats. Not so quick though.
                  The Brickhouse - across from Live Oak Cafe/ Logo Joe's is AWFUL on Howe street. Really beyond words.
                  Chagall's closed on the island and is moving to where the Maritine Museum was on Howe street across from Mr P's. I know it will be French, but not sure what it will be called or if the menu is the same or not. Work is being done on the former Chagall's location by another restauranteur.
                  The 19th Hole, right after the bridge to the island (long beach rd) has closed but there has been work there by someone else?
                  Island Brew on Howe Street is re opening (again) but not sure if same name/concept etc.
                  The Local's has opened where Fuzzy Mae's/Surfers was on Howe street.
                  If anyone else has any rec's on good places to go, besides Josef's at the marina at Fish Factory rd PLEASE post as we end up cooking for ourselves all the time!

                  Fishy Fishy Cafe
                  106 Yacht Basin Dr, Southport, NC 28461

                  1. re: winedine

                    The Fish House Restaurant at the Blue Water Point Marina is by far the best seafood you are going to find on Oak Island. It's small though and there can be a decent wait for a table.

                    The spot next to Turtles that a few folks have mentioned is called Oak Island Restaurant. It gets my vote for best place for a huge plate of good old fried seafood. They also have nightly meat and veggie specials (think Fried chicken, salsibury steak, mashed potatoes, green beans, etc..) where you pick from one of 3 or 4 meats and maybe ten different veggies. It's a good choice if you have someone in your group that doesn't like seafood. It seems like the clientele are mostly local, retired people. It's opened some days for lunch and some nights for dinner, but definitely great place for fried seafood if you can figure out when it is opened.

                    I saw someone else mentioned Shagger Jack's. We tried it for the first time last summer. It's a bar atmosphere with some very good food. Definitely different than what you normally find on OI. We will definitely hit it again.

                    We always eat at the BBQ shack at least once. It's the only place I know of for BBQ. It's good, inexpensive, and opened for lunch and dinner every day. It's our back up whenever wherever we are trying to go is closed. It's also good for a quick, easy lunch.

                    We also like Famous Pizza and Subs going towards Southport. I like the Provision company okay. I agree with whomever said everyone should eat there at least once. I've eaten there a few times and no particular desire to go back, but I would if we were nearby or I had someone with me who hadn't been.

                    We don't like Jones' Seafood or The Lucky Fisherman. The Lucky Fisherman is a pretty lousy buffet. My husband calls it the Unlucky Fisherman. I've heard mixed reviews of Captain Stanley's but have never tried it. People either love it or hate it. It's fried seafood, so I'll stick with Oak Island Restaurant for that. Oh and how can I forget Pizza Shack? WORST PIZZA EVER!! Stay far, far away.

                    I would love to see some new replies! We are going to Oak Island next week. If I find something new and wonderful I will try and update!

                    Lucky Fisherman
                    4419 Long Beach Rd SE, Southport, NC 28461

                    Famous Pizza & Restaurant
                    1417 Pearman Dairy Rd, Anderson, SC 29625

                    Shagger Jacks
                    8004 E Oak Island Dr, Oak Island, NC 28465

                    1. re: RJ_NC

                      I was just down there again for a short visit - didn't have a chance to eat out anywhere but I think both The Lucky Fisherman and Capt. Stanley's are out of business, as is Surfer's. I ate at Stanley's last year and it was one of the worst meals I've had down there....on par with the crappy Myrtle Beach "Calabash Style" joints, except I think my fried items were actually brought to me cold.

                      I highly recommend Shagger Jack's and the Fish House if you're eating on the island, although you already knew those. The Pelican opened up another location where the Beverage Barn was.

                      I can tell you if you're out in Southport at night and want a drink, the American Fish Co. is great. Its owned by the Provision folks, but despite the name its drinks only, no food. It sits above the water, completely open with ample room to stand or sit. I especially liked the pier supports carved like tikis.

                      Lucky Fisherman
                      4419 Long Beach Rd SE, Southport, NC 28461

                      Shagger Jacks
                      8004 E Oak Island Dr, Oak Island, NC 28465